Dovecote is the second solo album from former Salthouse frontman, Niall Colfer. It comes seven years after his debut, Finds. The Wexford man completed it over a two-year period, and recorded it in Gavin Glass’s Orphan Studios with Sean Coleman (producer), Barry Smullen (drums) and Mark Kelly (bass).
The raw, unrefined production of opening track, ‘For The Best’, lends Dovecote an instantly relaxed ambience. The tune moulds itself to you like a well-worn comfy chair. The gently picked slide guitar of ‘Relections’ has a country rock ballad feel with a melody and structure reminiscent of Guns ‘N’ Roses ‘Don’t Cry’. There are hints of Badly Drawn Boy and Dire Straits, as well as Colfer’s inspiration Neil Young.
Dovecote was album of the week on RTE Radio One and it is a very Radio One type of album; easy listening rather than cool. But you get the impression that Colfer et al are fine with that and that it is what they were aiming for. In which case they have accomplished their goals. Dovecote is not for everyone but it does what it does and it does it well. It’s a hangover cure rather than a soundtrack to pre-drinks.
Colfer occasionally struggles with the higher notes but his soft tone is complemented by his choice of instrumentation and the playing of his fellow musicians. Throughout Dovecote the laid back delivery and unwaveringly slow tempo fail to engage the listener and one song quickly melds to the next with no variation of tone and I would struggle to recommend it.